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Title: Community food initiatives : a comparative study of approaches addressing the link between poor diet and low income in Scotland and Canada
Author: Dutton, Yanina
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 4916
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2005
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Ill-health associated with poor diet has underlined the importance of food consumption as a central issue of public policy. One of the key interventions to promote healthy eating in socio-economically disadvantaged local areas is the community food initiative (CFI). This dissertation reports the findings of a comparative, cross-national study of two umbrella CFIs, a shop based co-op initiative in Edinburgh, Scotland and a box scheme initiative in Toronto, Canada. The main aim of the study was to explore the process by which CFIs approach their key goal of increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables among users, and to assess the extent to which this goal is achieved. The more specific objectives were: first, to investigate the extent of change in users' purchasing and consumption behaviour and perceptions of the initiatives; secondly, to investigate and contrast the history and philosophy of the CFIs in order to locate and understand them within the context of the countries' policy developments; and, thirdly, to examine their designs, how they operate and the daily processes involved. Following a review of the literature on the relevant policy context in each country, a range of methods (participant observation, discussions and interviews with people working in various capacities at the initiatives and documentary sources) was used to develop an understanding of the operation, origin and values of the initiatives. A qualitative panel study design was undertaken, with two in-depth interviews carried out over a six-month period with the parents of young children who had recently begun to use their local CFI (eleven parents in Edinburgh and ten parents in Toronto). The main focus of the interviews was on users' perceptions and experiences of food provisioning, purchasing, preparation, cooking and eating, with a view to understanding the process of change in households' food choices and any barriers to such change. The study also explored the respondents' interests in, and attitudes towards, their CFI in the context of their experience of using other food shopping outlets, the social gains from using the CFI, and the influence of their wider interests in the community, food, farming and the environment. While use of the CFIs did result in the consumption of more fruit and vegetables among all study participants, the extent to which this happened was dependent upon many factors, including: respondents' opportunity to continue to use the initiatives in relation to their time constraints; interests in supporting community initiatives; wider concerns about food, farming and the environment; and the levels of confidence, motivation, skills and knowledge to prepare and cook fruit and vegetables. In general, the initiatives were of most benefit to those who were sufficiently competent and confident to attempt to cook meals that incorporated a wide range of fruit and vegetables. Different types of intervention will be required in future to empower individuals who lack the skills, knowledge and confidence to prepare and consume more fruit and vegetables to change their food consumption practices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available